Working as a nurse comes with many opportunities as well as responsibilities, as the role is essential in maintaining a high quality of care in public, private, and specialised healthcare practices. Nurses make up the largest healthcare occupation in the US and the UK, due in part to the requirements of the job. Being a nurse involves caring for patients, administering medicine, supervising aides, and assisting doctors and surgeons when the time comes. However, despite the apparent need for nurses in the healthcare, there is a decreasing number of individuals filling these positions across the board.
One reason behind staffing shortages in healthcare is the unfortunate reality that men are less likely to take up the job of a nurse. A recent study revealed that out of the hundreds of thousands of nurses currently working in the field, . This gender gap in nursing has far-reaching implications for current healthcare facilities as well as the patients who rely on quality care to overcome mild to severe medical conditions. To understand better the disparity between men and women in nursing, and to create a resolution that may shore up the staffing shortages experienced around the world, dispelling some of the myths surrounding men in nursing must take place.
Dispelling the Myths
There are several misnomers relating to men in nursing positions, not just in the UK and the US, but in other countries as well. These assumptions make it difficult for men considering a nursing career to take the leap, or for those already in the career to feel comfortable with their career trajectory. The good news is that many of these myths are just that – false perceptions that hold back an otherwise important and influential job.
Female characteristics: many men and women , and that can be directly linked back to the characteristics necessary to be successful on the job. Nurses interact with several different types of patients, both male and female, but in every interaction, they are tasked with being thoughtful, nurturing, and caring on a high level. Most men possess these traits, but because of societal pressures and norms, they are far less encouraged to use them in their chosen career.
Low pay: another reason men are thought to be less likely to take up a nursing career is the salary offered with the job. The median pay for an entry-level nurse , but there are many nursing positions that offer higher salary once more experienced is gathered, or a specialty is earned.
No growth opportunity: in some circles, men are discouraged from being a nurse because there is a perceived lack of growth opportunity in the field. Some suggest that men who are nurses really want to be doctors, but settle for a lower position for a variety of reasons. The truth is that nurses, both male and female, have an opportunity to boost their credentials over time, specialise in a particular area of healthcare, or become leads in their healthcare facilities.
The Influence on Nursing Staff and Patient Care
Although there are methods to dispel the common myths listed above, the nursing environment has not seen a significant uptick in male nurses for several years. This is leading to a staffing shortage amount hospitals, clinics, and private practices throughout the UK and the US. A group of explains that this shortage is putting undue strain on nurses each day, as the patient load increases and budgets for healthcare facilities decrease. In a recent survey of more than 30,000 nurses, nearly 53% reported that they felt as though the care they were able to provide patients was lacking because too few nurses were on duty at any given time. In addition, some felt uncomfortable with the tasks they were assigned, either due to lack of training or a lack of passion in the area of work. The combination of these issues leaves patients at risk for less than quality care, and ultimately, sub-par health and well-being that can be life-altering.
Fortunately, change is being pursued throughout patient advocacy groups and charitable organisations, , and healthcare facilities on a grand scale. More recruiting efforts are taking place throughout developed countries to help dispel the myths of men in nursing and encourage more men to take charge of their career paths through nursing degrees. As these initiatives come to fruition, the staff shortages faced by many healthcare facilities and provider practices has the potential to decrease significantly. Additionally, men will have more incentive to embrace a career in nursing, focused on their abilities to help others in their time of need.